According to Gabriel Agbonlahor, William Saliba should start ahead of Ben White in Arsenal’s back four next season.

After three loan periods away from the Gunners following his original transfer to The Emirates from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019, the French defender is likely to return to his parent club this summer.

Saliba was a standout for Marseille last season, appearing in 36 Ligue 1 games as the French club finished second in the league behind winners Paris Saint-Germain.
He also made his international debut this year, making his first five appearances for the senior France squad after impressing for Marseille.

Mikel Arteta is looking to construct a group capable of breaking back into the top four next season, after the Gunners narrowly missed out on Champions League qualifying last season.

Former Aston Villa star Agbonlahor now believes Saliba should be given a shot alongside Gabriel at the heart of Arsenal’s defence next season, alleging that White has not performed to the level expected since his big-money signing from Brighton and Hove Albion last summer.

“I’ve watched Saliba a few times and he’s got the quickness that you want to see in a centre-half and he’s extremely excellent at making the correct choice at the right moment,” Agbonlahor remarked in an interview with Football Insider.

“Arsenal’s defence is nowhere near good enough to finish in the top four.” Ben White is overrated in my opinion; I saw him against Newcastle at the end of the season and he was horrible.

“He lacks speed and ferocity.” Yes, he’s terrific on the ball, but he’s a centre-half, not a defensive midfielder.

“Arsenal want two no-nonsense center-halves who are both quick. Gabriel and Saliba would be my starters next season, in my opinion.

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“I think Brighton are laughing at the money they got for Ben White because he’s not good enough.” It’s a pity Arsenal has squandered yet another large sum of money. Pepe was the same way. Ben White was unnecessary, and Saliba should take his place.”

Since joining Arsenal three years ago, Saliba has failed to make a competitive appearance. His first Premier League start might come against Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of the season.

 


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